Weird Music

When I was in college at UAB was the first time I was really exposed to improvisational music, free jazz, and other “weird” music of that ilk. It was the first time I heard Sun Ra, a Birmingham native who has since relocated to outer space, and his presence still lingers over the city. Because of him, I sometimes think of Birmingham itself as a space ship that will eventually leave earth to return to whatever faroff planet it initially came from. George Mostoller, a bandmate of mine at the time, was responsible for my Sun Ra education.

Through George, I also met Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith, who to this day have no idea how much they influenced me as a young musician. Later I became familiar with New York improvisers like John Zorn, but there is something about Southern weirdo musicians that will always hold a special place in my heart. Where New York music of this genre hits you in the face again and again, there is something about the Southern variety that grows on you like, well like kudzu, I guess.

Friday night, I got to see Davey and LaDonna, and a host of other incredible musicians, as part of the Improvisor Festival. I arrived just in time to see Andrea Centazzo do an AMAZING solo percussion piece. And then he was joined by Davey and Ladonna themselves, followed by an all-star “meltdown” performance by about a dozen of the best musicians this town has ever seen.

The festival goes throughout this week. I’ll definitely be attending more shows.

LISTEN TO the improvisor festival, and more…
To hear the show August 1, at the Stone: A.M.I.C.A. Bunker Reunion,
and other improv phone shows, go to…


Fri      July 30     7:00 BARE HANDS “Mastering the Art of Improv”
Festival preview and  art opening featuring Howayada Klann:  Larry Hoagland, Brad Davis,
Walker Yancey, and Jess Marie Walker,a collaborative group exploring interactive noise installation
and performance work using assemblage and electronics along with occasional language
manipulation and playful game exercises.

Sat       July 31    7:30   BARE HANDS “Corpus Euphonium” (Birmingham) freejazz noise with dance!
Stella Nystrom, Rhea Speights, Rebecca Harris w/Stephen McClurg, Dave Ault (sax), Eric Jenkins (Sax),

Sun AUG 1 8:00 THE STONE (NYC) the improvisor festival opens  in New York City! THE STONE is located at  the corner of  avenue C and 2nd street, New York City The  A.M.I.C.A. Bunker Reunion Concert featuring
LaDonna Smith
, Jack Wright, Chris Cochrane,  Reubin Radding,  Andrea Parkins,  Blaize Siwula,
Sean Meehan, Judy Dunaway, Matt Ostrowski, David First, Andrew DeWar and others…     more

hear this broadcast on the phone internet radio show!

Sun AUG 1 8:00 The North Midtown Arts Center, Jackson, Mississippi Satellite Concert
121 Millsaps Avenue Bruce Golden, Evan Gallagher, Jeb Stuart and others will perform In the spirit of this 30 year anniversary, old friends and 80’s-era Ars Supernova ensemble-mates   reconvene in improvisation to ruminate on their past and the surprising future they now find themselves in.
read more

THURS     5 4:30 p.m.the improvisor parade Birmingham AL  to be broadcast
the phone internet radio show!
a  “progressive parade….” from Forest Park to Five Points South, then Crestwood!
Come in costume, or bring an axe (instrument of your choice), toys, battery operated tools
& household items, dogs, signs & streamers.  Join us at any point.
4:30 Forest Park Shopping District (Meet at V. Richards Parking Lot on Clairmont)
5:30 Five Points South, around the fountain & shopping district
7:00 Crestwood Coffee:  parade concludes: Alice Faye Love Art Opening

THURS     5         7:00 p.m. Satellite Concert GREY GABLES in Montevallo, Alabama.   Performers
include: Pony Bones (Atlanta, GA) free-form death blues; Yakuza Dance Mob (Bham)
party noise;   Jefferson Mayday (Columbia, SC) free jazz drumming; Gashy
(Atl) unconscious balladeer;  Cedro Danado (Montevallo) southern gothicetry, minimalism;
Karst (Montevallo) quiet one-woman fiddle and found object percussions;
HoWaYaDa Klann + surprise special guests (Bham & Montevallo) transdio noiseaumitions

FRI  AUG  6 WORKPLAY (Birmingham) Magic City Meltdown!
the improvisor festival
doors open  6:30
7:00 “August Us  Melt” musicians, dancers, puppets and wheelchair dance
featuring Jill Burton, Claire Elizabeth Barratt, Celeste LaBorde, Clifford McPeek, Juliet
Eastlick, Stella Nystrom, Some Grets..Rhea Speights, Mary Foshee, Stephen McClurg,
Gino Robair, Alice Faye Love, Sycamore,  Hunter Bell, Si Reasoning, Deborah Mauldin,
American Tribal Style Bellydancers(ATS) – Robin, Liz, Heather and DeAnna,
Out of the Darj-(Mark Freeman),Ryan Carlson, Rich Miller, Robert Stewart, and Kevin Barrett

7:30 Killick  & DeWar

8:00    Henry Kaiser & Davey Williams

8:30 Gino Robair  and you …
9:00 Ut Gret Rio styled alt-classical improvisation, elder bros.

10:00 Andrea Centazzo + LaDonna Smith + Davey Williams

11:00  “Magic City Melt-down
Chris Cochrane, Davey Williams,  Oteil Burbridge,
Matt Ki
mbrell, Gino Robair,
Rick Nance, Cliff McPeek, Andrew DeWar

SAT        7          9:00 a.m. Pepper Place “Farmers Market” “Morning Improv Parade”

10:00-12:00 Stomp Kitchen” Children’s Improv Workshop Pepper Place at
Cantley & Company Kitchen Design Shop just behind the Farmer’s Market Square.
“Exploring the sonic potential of the kitchen” for kids, designed by Reynolds Shook
with Mary Foshee, Charlotte & Spencer Leffel, Jasper Justice, and Si Reasoning. FREE

7:00-10:00 p.m. ~Night of Mini-Performances~ Pepper Place “The Listening Room”
featuring Craig Hultgren, Phantom Limb-Cardew , Tea Time With Flaura
Katherine Young,

SAT        7 8:00 p.m. Barking Leggs (Chattanooga), the  improvisor  festival tour
features Gino Robair & Ann Law, Killick, Jill Burton, Stella Nystrom & Claire Barratt
Andrea Centazzo,  LaDonna Smith,  Chris Cochrane, Terry Fugate

SUN      8 4:00 p.m. Pepper Place, “The Listening Room” Raj Kumar Singh,
from Ujjian, India:  “Devotional Music, from India ”

8:00 p.m. EYEDRUM (Atlanta) the improvisor  festival tour Atlanta
features Andrea Centazzo,  Killick,  Jill Burton, Claire Barratt,
Gino Robair , Chris Cochrane, Skryxl Pony Payroll Bones, Karst, Cedro Danada
Duet for Theremin & Lap Steel, Pocketfull of Claptonite, Them Natives

MON     9 8:00 p.m. CINE’ (Athens) the  improvisor  festival tour Athens
Pocketful of Claptonite, Pony Payroll Bones, Karst, Cedro Danada, Them Natives,
Heather McIntosh,
Skryxl, Chris Cochrane,  Gino Robair, Andrea Centazzo,
Jill Burton, Claire Barratt

TUES   10 7:00 p.m. CINE’ (Athens) “I-NORTON” Gino Robair conducts his Creative
Opera, a collective workshop-musicians, dancers, singers: experienced and non-
experienced collaborative improvisational orchestra.

WED      11 7:00 p.m. “The Listening Room” (Birmingham)  Pepper Place CONCERT
Doug Carroll “Animal Sounds” (S.F.)
Street Lingo”     Craig Hultgren, Rick Nance, Lindsay Motlow
Rich O’Donnell & Anna Lum (St. Louis)
Andrew DeWar & Gino Robair duo

THURS  12 7:00 Pepper Place “The Listening Room” CONCERT
LaDonna Smith, Andrea Centazzo, Claire Barratt” & friends
“Bluff Duo” (Nashville, Tn)  Brady Sharp (g) + David Maddox (sx)
Rich Curtis  & Andrew DeWar
“CREATIVE Opera  I-NORTON” Gino Robair, (improv opera for the experienced & non-
experienced alike, please participate!)

FRI          13 7:00 p.m.  BOTTLETREE MUSIC CAFÉ             
7:00 “Pico Dorado” (FILM & MUSIC GAME w/animations)
Ben Matthews(g), Matt Atatat (b), Wayne Anderson (d), Charles Pagano
(vib),Jason George( b), Louis Perry (e),  Scott Bazar video conduction (45 min)
8:00  “Doug Carroll (SF), Jill Burton (FL)-, LaDonna Smith-, Andrea Centazzo (20 min)
Claire Barratt, Jim Willett
9:00    Wally Shoup (Seattle), Davey Williams(BHAM), Terry Fugate (TN),
Bruce Golden (Jackson, MS) of Curlew.

10:00  Col. Bruce Hampton (GA) & the Shaking Ray Levis (TN)   

SAT     14 10:00 a.m. Pepper Place, “Farmer’s Market” Guerilla Dancers….
“John Scalici
Get Rhythm! Percussion Workshop
Bruce Hampton-Davey Williams-Terry Fugate- Bruce Golden
Wally Shoup,  Clifford McPeek

1:00 -3:00 p.m. CDF Dance This Mess Around
[Improvisation for Dancers]
by David Appel.
Dance improvisation can be closely ordered, totally unruly,
and everything in-between.
And there are as many ways of approaching it as there are people playing and thinking about the
dancing body in this context. Our tack will be to engage some structures through which we can
develop a greater sensitivity within ourselves and to each other, garner skills to organize and shape
our dancing from moment to moment and over time, and foster a more acute awareness of the
space we’re moving in and enlivening. Plus we’ll give a shout-out to the music of the body in
motion, and to bodies engaging the sound that surrounds us.

“Spaceship Saturn: A Tribute to Sun Ra.”
Outdoor Stage behind the Winery at Pepper Place
2801 2nd Ave. South

7:00 Them Natives accoustic improv from the Hinterlands (inside)
8:00   Portal Dementia  Hunter Bell (mainstage)
8:30   Brad Davis
with LaDonna Smith (inside)  
9:00   Juka Tribe,
John Scalici- d, Karen Bentley-Pollick v, Randy Crow-Hammer  
dulcimer, Shariff Simmons-spoken word, Cody Mclain-percussion
with EryniasTribe Raven Thrasher, Brooke Schwarz, Denise Wiggington
fusion belly dance and fire!

9:30   RTD3   Doug Carroll, Ron Heglin, Tom Nunn
10:00  “
Spaceship Saturn” SUN RA TRIBUTE   ~ RA STAGE (mainstage)
Hunter Bell-synth-conduction,

Sharriff Simmons-spoken word, Jill Burton-v, Wally Shoup -s, Andrea Centazzo, Jim
Willet-pw,  Juliet  Eastlick-fl,  Cliff McPeek-tp, Rick Nance tp, Tom Nunn-tb, Ron
Heglin-tb, Ben Matthews, Matt Atatat(b), Wayne Anderson(d), Charles Pagano
(vib), Jason George- b, Louis Perry-e, Randy Crow-hd, Andrew  DeWar-s, Cody Mclain-
p,  Zac-dr John Scalici-dr , Karen Bentley Pollick-v, LaDonna Smith-v, Doug Carroll-c,
Claire  Barratt-c/mvt, David Appel,  Celeste LaBourd, Stella Nystrom-dance.
Portal Dementia-synths & drums,  Erynias Tribe, musicians & dancers welcome!

SAT     14         8:00 p.m. SATELLITE CONCERT: Joe McPhee    Wayward Music Series (Seattle, WA)
at “the Chapel” of The Good Shepherd  Center, by Non Sequitur.

Sun     15         11:00 a.m.  Pepper Place, “The Listening Room”  Raj Kumar Singh, from Ujjian, India:  
Contemplative music  & practice in the South Indian tradition”

Sun    15            4:00 p.m
“VISIONS” the multi-media-films
1715 27th Court South, Homewood Andrea Centazzo solo multimedia anthology concert
See amazing demo previews on UTUBE
with Andrea Centazzo:   film, solo percussion & electronics.  $10         

Sun    15              7:00 p.m.   CHILDRENS DANCE FOUNDATION –   “Orb. Fade. Trip. Dog.”
David Appel (NYC), Mary Foshee (Birmingham), Ann Law (Chattanooga),
Sycamore (Huntsville).
One Hour Performance. F
our acclaimed veteran dance improvisers
hit the stage
with a probing look at the intricacies of the body in motion, and all manner of
carrying on! As this quartet of dancer/choreographers re-convenes for the first time since
their dynamic October 2009 premiere performance in Chattanooga, Birmingham’s audience
will have a rare chance to see them again push the limits of themselves and their art.
Expect an evening both humorous and thought-provoking, where individual virtuosities
meet  razor-sharp sensibilities and sly twists on a moment’s notice.
No bad airport food or clogged highway travel required!

Tues      17          “Odd of Medusa”
Pepper Place, The Listening Room, 2801 2nd Ave. South
Voices of the Alarming Female,
Neko Linda, Laura Secord,  Anne Bailey,
Pamela Plumber, Mimi Latoine, Delores (Dee) Smith, DeJuana McCary & Redemptive
Soul, a women’s
jazz band.

Wed      18        7:00 Pepper Place “The Listening Room”
Jill Burton
& “The Sisters” vocal workshop (community)
8:00   Indian devotional vocalist/harmonium Raj Kumbar Singh

Thurs     19
CAFE CONCERT: Extended Play The Red Cat
2901 2nd Ave. South at
Pepper Place
7:00    KARST – Kathleen Hairston (Montevallo)  vln, tape loops, g, bjo, vocals
7:30    “Ultra Hip Review”  Improv Sensational

Cedro Danado (Montevallo)   ukelin, fiddle, vocals
8:30    Charlie Rauh (Nashville) solo style gtr in the style of Hildegarde von Bingen
9:15    “Them Natives”

Fri         20 7:00  CHILDREN’S DANCE FOUNDATION “Laura Knox Dedication”
slides, film & stories (wine & cheese) reservations suggested

8:00 “Just Move It” CDF  Dancers, Movers & Shaker’s improvisor Showcase
featuring:  David Appel (NY), Sycamore, Juanita Suarez & Mark Olivieri (NY)
Susan Hefner & Michael Evans (NY), Claire Barratt (NC), Rhea Speights (CDF),
Mary Foshee (CDF), Doug Carroll, Stella Nystrom, Chris Helleke
Deborah Mauldin, Ashley Muth, Si Reasoning (Butoh), Davey Williams,
LaDonna Smith,  Ginger Wyatt, Jill Burton, Alice Faye Love, Jim Willett

SAT        21           9:00-11:00 a.m. Pepper Place The LiteBox Gallery   Children’s Improv Orchestra
with Si Reasoning

“Sudden Death” poets & spoken words
ROJO at  2921 Highland Ave. S.
7:30       Rich Curtis
8:30 “Sudden Death” 20 poets- curated by Hunter Bell & Lori Lassetter

SUN 22-28   ODD PLACES WEEK” Claire Elizabeth Barratt
improv happenings in odd places, some known and some unknown, Moundville, Sloss Furnace, Naked Art, Black Belt-Folk Roots Festival, and elsewhere…tbs..surprise!

FRI         27
“Improv Roulette”
THE LISTENING ROOM at Pepper Place  2801 2nd Ave. South

7:00 Stella & Rhea “In Silence”
7:30    Johnny Coley, Jimmy Griffin, Davey Williams
8:00    Bearing Light Butoh, Deborah Mauldin & Ashley Muth
8:30    “Stringtrek”  LaDonna Smith & Misha Feigin
9:00   “Improv Roulette”
(curated by Si Reasoning) Deborah Mauldin,  Ashley, Andrew,
Jennifer Caputo, Celeste LaBorde,  Rhea Speights,  Stella Nystrom, Juliet Eastlick,
LaDonna Smith, Alice Faye Love, Claire Barratt, Stephen McClurg,
Davey Williams, Johnny Coley, Jimmy Griffin, Cliff McPeek,  Misha Feigin,

SAT        28     9:00-11:00 FARMERS MARKET  “Childrens Improv Workshop”   10:00 – 12:00
Improvise with Charlotte and Spencer Leffel of the PINK HOUSE with
sonic musical explorations for kids of all ages in movement, rhythm and song.
Kids of all ages!  FREE.

10:00 a.m.   “BLACK-BELT FOLK ROOTS FESTIVAL” (EUTAW, AL)  Davey Williams

Sounding Offthe-improvisor festival Closing Party-
7::00-10:00 p.m. “The Red Cat” 2901 2nd Ave. South at Pepper Place
Dana Moore,“Aura Hoops”, Celeste LaBorde & Sharrif Simmons,
RX LeBelle, James R. Hood, THEM NATIVES. “Sounding Off” Finale Community Jam
(bring a horn, string, voice or other hand-held musical contribution)

SUN       29      WHEREVER  YOU ARE Day of Rest, Gratitude & Meditation (improvised of course!)
11:00 a.m.  Pepper Place, “The Listening Room”  Raj Kumar Singh, from Ujjian, India:  
Contemplative music  & practice in the South Indian tradition”

4:00 p.m. “Artburst” Unitarian Universalist Church micro-tonal works by Monroe Golden


2 thoughts on “Weird Music

  1. thanks for the blog post. i hope to see you at upcoming events. Tomorrow night’s event at Bottle tree is going to be on fire. Saturday’s
    “Spaceship Saturn” event is going to be “outerspace.”

    Hunter Bell

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